Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Goodbye To My Mama - A.Prairie.Home.Companion.

She wouldn't have needed the strange subtitles, but the sound quality is good, so, one day later, this is for mama's birthday, Rose Tyson Gardner, August 30, 1926 - April 21, 2007.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Divine Destiny is Diabolically Destructive

Anyone claiming his/her country is on a divine mission should be watched closely to prevent him/her from ever achieving any power anywhere or having any influence on anyone in power anywhere!

A good example was the "Restoring Honor" rally on August 28.
The Beck crowd ... had all the trappings of a reconstituted, 21st Century Christian Coalition. While political signs were banned from the event, the marshals didn't seem to object to the two
enormous crucifixes some people brought to the front of the crowd. Lots of the people in attendance appeared deeply religious. A Boy Scout troop leader from New Hampshire was wearing a scout hat that identified him as "Elder Delevan," as in Mormon church elder. Joan DeMasi, 79, from Warwick, Rhode Island, told me that she had been drawn to the rally by "God–and Glenn Beck." She said she was tired of "people not saluting the flag and not believing in God." So from her perspective, "Restoring Honor" was simply "incredible." Whether the rest of the tea party movement will share such a glowing assessment remains to be
Beck on Top
The talk-show host's 'Restoring Honor' rally was about one thing: him.
Almost no one who attended Saturday’s “Restoring Honor” rally on the National Mall seems able to cogently explain what, exactly, took place. Was it a thinly disguised political rally? A triumph of Made in America inspirational treacle? A modern-day religious revival? When probed by reporters, happy participants and skeptical observers alike struggled to make sense of the prayerful parade that saw Tony LaRussa, Sarah Palin, and Eveda King take turns at a podium between prerecorded voiceovers about crossroads, awakenings, and miracles. Yet there was one message that the afternoon’s emotional emcee managed to get across with unmistakable clarity: Glenn Beck is still a major force to be reckoned with, and has every
intention of staying one.
*Remember what Mark Twain said about faith meaning to believe in what you know ain't right.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


The lighthouse perched on the Dornbusch rise on our beloved island of Hiddensee blinked us a farewell as our cruise ship sailed off into the night from Rügen to return to Kiel this morning. Now we're home and filled with enjoyment and elation!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Baltic Cruise

The first day out of Kiel was at sea, we roamed the ship and never had a boring moment, are still on Tuesday finding new nooks and crannies to sit or look that we hadn't discovered before.
Riga was covered with a guided walking tour of the old town, and our guide Aja could explain everything. It is a beautiful town, even if the landing was at a lumberyard dock.
Tallin was the third day, and we "did" it on our own. It is even more beautiful than Riga, has a Russian Orthodox cathedral where the worship and standing ceremony evidently never stops. The only thing ugly was a strange concrete bunker like step construction from the foot of the old town's hill out to the harbor. No one wanted to explain it to us, until the vendor of juniper boxes at the ship was willing to talk about it in English. It was an over-dimensioned concert hall built by the Soviets that no one liked and that was abandonned with independence. The massive concrete is too expensive, till now, for anyone to invest in demolition.
St. Petersburg is glorious, if faded at the edges. The first day, with a walking tour, was tiring, as it is vastly laid out. Our guide Anja was an extremely proud St. Petersburger and set a walking pace nearing a trot, but otherwise we would have never covered everything in the allotted time. She was also our guide on the second day for a boat tour through the canals and on the grand river Neva, as well as to the original fortress of Peter the Great, where the Church of Peter and Paul stands with its long gilded spire and all Czars since Peter are buried.
Helsinki is ok, small, we've already walked it, quaint, some nice buildings, a beautiful main square with a giant Lutheran cathedral, but we are already back at 10:30 am local time on the ship and I'm trying to take the time to organize photos for further upload and to make these first notes about our cruise.

(The photos of the ship scattered in among the sightseeing pix and the sunsets and sunrises from ship board might give you a hint...)

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Walled City

When I first arrived in this wonderful city of Berlin, my destination was only one half of the city, West Berlin, technically belonging to no country but comprised of the three occupation zones of the Western Powers, France, Great Britain, and the United States. The inhabitants of West Berlin were actually not citizens of any country, were provided diplomatic services abroad by the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, its "provisional capital" in Bonn.

Having heard of the Wall before arrival, having even seen pictures of it, I went to see it within my first few days here, specifically at Potsdamer Platz. The picture from the postcard of that time shows a view of the Wall, begun on this day in 1961, from there across no-man's land and Leipziger Platz to the eastern part of the city.

In East Berlin, technically the fourth occupied zone under control of the USSR, but made capital and part and portion of the German Democratic Republic with Soviet approval despite Western Allies protest, the inhabitants were citizens of the GDR, although this actually violated the occupation status of Berlin as a whole, and were subject to all provisions this entailed. They had to serve in the draft army, the Volksarmee, and could "watch" the government of the country with all its ministries and offices in East Berlin.

Inhabitants of West Berlin were not allowed to be in the Bundeswehr, the army of West Germany, and many West German boys "fled" to West Berlin to avoid the draft there. When, for example, elections to the presidency of the BRD were held in the Reichstag in West Berlin, the Soviets protested loudly, even sending jet fighters to razz the assembly in low-altitude flights or to break the sound barrier overhead.

My husband Detlef grew up on the "east" side of the Wall, and we would probably never have met, certainly not have been able to establish a common life, had that wall not come down in November of 1989.

The little red chip standing below the picture is the one piece of the Wall I hacked out at precisely the location of the photo, at Potsdamer Platz. Its color is from the graffiti that covered the western side of the wall, in stark contrast to the blank white of the other side, to make it easier to see any who might attempt to get over it. Don't forget that there were TWO walls: the "outer" or "western" one here in the foreground and the "inner" or "eastern" one on the far side of the mined and patrolled no-man's land in the distance on this picture.

The Wall was an attempt to separate people for ideology; its fall an example of people overcoming barriers; its absence is the presence of my life in love with Detlef.

In Berlin I feel and relish the absence of that Wall every minute of every day. That absence is a freedom hard to describe if you never experienced the hassles trying to "cross" at the checkpoints; hassles nothing in comparison with what the inhabitants of the East faced, usually not allowed to cross at all!

And now Detlef and I simply ride the number 200 bus across Potsdamer Platz, right through what was no-man's land, piercing both "sides" of the now absent Wall. Here, too, was where I first walked across after the opening of the Wall in November, 1989. The first place I saw the Wall with my own eyes is the first place I crossed back and forth once a makeshift opening was created there. It is now one of the central points of our life in Berlin.

Ironically, Detlef's mom's birthday is also August 13th; and thanks to the Fall of the Wall 21 years ago after it had stood for 28, Detlef and I along with his brother and his wife and kids and some of her friends will celebrate Edith's birthday in a riverside restaurant in the Köpenick district of Berlin this evening. There is family unity and no wall to hinder celebration, as she once experienced when she was not allowed to attend a celebration of her sister's in Bavaria. So then, this is a lesson in birthdays!

The birthday of a Wall is to be commemorated only now that it has fallen as a reminder never to allow infringement of freedom. And the birthday of my dear mother-in-law is a celebration of the joys of humans able to love and overcome boundaries.

Never forget!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Courage Campaign: RIGHTS are Right !

A fundamental right is to be upheld for all!
Listen to the idiots fascists from Fox try to maintain securing rights is some sort of dictatorship and Ted Olson set them straight. The MAJORITY may NOT deny RIGHTS to any MINORITY. Perhaps FOX, too, will one day learn that SUCH would be dictatorship; guaranteeing rights to minorities is the sine qua non of democracy.

Courage Campaign Sign our "thank you" card to Ted Olson, David Boies, and AFER

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Good News for Germany = Bad News for the Tigerente!

The Button Merkel and the Westernwave have finally, with their impossibly incompetent and socially cold policies, moved their parties down into the basement of public opinion as the German electorate awakens to the fact that neoliberal economics may help bankers and the rich, but not the population in general or the country as a whole. The shift in the polls holds out great hope, as state elections loom next year!

Sonntagsfrage ‹ Bundesweit ‹ Umfragen & Analysen ‹ Infratest dimap
Union: 31%
SPD: 31%
FDP: 5%
Linke: 10%
Grüne: 17%
Sonstige: 6%

Which would provide a parliamentary majority for SPD-Green and perhaps nudge Germany into the Twenty-First Century again!

With Liberty and Justice For All !

May the new Supreme Court Justice, Justice Kagan, have success in her obligation to ensure justice under the law equally for all and to uphold the rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Morning Music

To accompany whatever you're reading and/or writing at the moment, your thoughts, your love, your yearning...

Leise flehen meine Lieder
durch die Nacht zu dir;
in den stillen Hain hernieder,
...Liebchen, komm zu mir!
Flüsternd schlanke Wipfel rauschen
in des Mondes Licht;
des Verräters feindlich Lauschen
fürchte, Holde, nicht.

Hörst die Nachtigallen schlagen?
Ach! sie flehen dich,
mit der Töne süssen Klagen
flehen sie für mich.

Sie verstehn des Busens Sehnen,
kennen Liebesschmerz,
rühren mit den Silbertönen
jedes weiche Herz.

Laß auch dir die Brust bewegen,
Liebchen, höre mich!
Bebend harr' ich dir entgegen!
Komm, beglücke mich!